The current COVID-19 crisis has had consequences on employment conditions in France. Before the pandemic, working from the company’s premises was the rule, while working from a home office was the exception.
Over the last few years, there has been an emerging trend in favor of home offices, facilitated in particular by transportation strikes, the need to save on office rents, and other factors. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this process. Overnight, most employees have had to work from home, and companies had no choice but to adapt quickly to this situation.
Once operations return to normal, companies willing to implement or permanently facilitate remote working will have to comply with the following rules:
- Work-from-home policies need to be implemented voluntarily and must be reversible.
- Work-from-home policies must be implemented by the company either (i) through a collective bargaining agreement, (ii), if there is no agreement, through a chart prepared by the employer after works council consultation, or (iii) on an individual basis in the absence of either a collective bargaining agreement or a chart.
- The employer must provide employees with the required equipment.
- Employees working remotely will continue to be subject to and benefit from labor regulations governing work hours, maximum daily and weekly work time, overtime pay (if applicable), right to separate from the employer, and other protections.
- Remote employees must benefit from the same individual and collective rights as other employees.
- The employer must bear the expenses associated with an employee’s home office.
- The employer must take care of employees’ health by such means as setting up specific timeslots to contact employees, preventing remote worker isolation, and providing company rules regarding the use of screens, annual workload reviews, and working conditions.
If French citizens or foreign expatriates working in France have questions about their employment rights, whether or not they work remotely, please contact our office to discuss your concerns.
Marie-Cécile de la Chapelle
Attorney at Law